Part 2 with Francis. I don’t know many Indians. As an American, I want to say, “You know like Indian Indians, not like American Indians.” I can not imagine how ignorant that must sound to the people who make up 1.3 billion of the world’s population. If you need something to put that in perspective as I do, that’s over three times the population of the United States.
But wait. What race is Francis? I bet you don’t know. In fact, I bet you are not sure how many races there are in the world. Your mind is saying 5 right? or is it 4? or 7? I’m not going to tell you and if you do know that answer, right now you are feeling insulted and want to tell me. But do I mean race as a biological category or a sociological one? Which is it? Do I really mean ethnicity?
Wait again. Name those races. What are they? Once again I bet you can’t name the major races, let alone the corresponding ethnicities and countries they mainly populate.
But you feel strongly about the race dialogue going on in America, so much so that there is a good chance your friendships are being effected. You are insulted by those who are taking a different view from you. You may think they are ignorant and backward and bigoted or they may be ill-informed and pushy or snobby. I have some friends who are considering cutting off friends and even posted on Facebook if you have XYZ view, you can unfriend me. I don’t want to even be around you. Really?
Some of you aren’t hearing a word because you are stuck on Black, White, Indian, Asian and you are counting on your fingers as you do it. What are you missing?
We could do the same exercise in Major World Religions if we wanted to. What are the major World Religions? I divert.
Back to Francis. I don’t know many Indians. I don’t have many Indian friends. Francis is a new friend for me and I suspect he will be one for life and it is going to be good and deep and filled with humor and teasing and a mutual passion for the God we love, the one Triune God who reveals Himself in Holy Scripture.
Francis is going to teach me more about Indians, the amazing diversity among these people, their land, their history, their food, and cultures. I’ll probably even pick up novels about India that I never would have considered before I met Francis.
His skin has different pigmentation than mine. Of course, I notice it. I’m not blind. Do I care? Not really. Bet you don’t either. Why? Because it is Francis. You know his name, His mission, his values, his love of God and country.
Why do I know Francis? Because as a middle-age man he came to my country and he learned about my people and from my people. When he met me, he smiled and shook my hand. I know Francis because he came here.
I don’t want to push an analogy too far, but that’s also the story of the Gospel the Church has taught for 2,000 years. God made the trip. He came here, to this earth, in human flesh. His name is Jesus. He cared. He loved. He taught. He died. The message: “In my Father’s House there are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you.” Want one of those mansions?
Check out a church today who can tell you more about that. The real estate up there in Heaven sure isn’t cheap, but the price has already been paid. And that is what we mean by “AND” and that is WORTH A THOUGHT.
For Church Hurts AND this is John Bash. Love somebody today and Enjoy God, won’t you?